For Gun Control Advocates: What Are "Common Sense Gun Laws" and What Laws Would Go Too Far?

Very few gun control advocates will come out and SAY guns should be banned and confiscated. The great majority of them will say “We just want common sense gun laws.”

Okay. I’m listening (honest and truly- I don’t own any guns and never have; I have no dog in this fight). Tell me a few things.

  1. What are some “common sense” restrictions, in your view?

  2. Would any of those restrictions have prevented the Las Vegas shooting?

  3. What restrictions would you deem UNacceptable? What guarantees would you give to a moderate, sensible gun owner who MIGHT be okay with SOME restrictions?

That is, how would you convince a gun owner (again, I am not one of them) that your restrictions are NOT just the tip of the iceberg or the camel nose under the tent? Many gun owners fear that liberals view “common sense restrictions” as just a first step toward confiscation. Every time a liberal applauds Australian policy, he is confirming that the gun owner’s fears are justified.

Gun owner’s fears that the government will ban every single gun in America are justified by applauding a policy that allows people to have guns?

That’s weird.

I would personally very much love to completely ban all gun sales, but i am smart enough to understand that something like that ever happening is completely unrealistic and that I am in a small minority. Gun owner fears are unjustified because the things they fear have zero realistic chance of ever happening. The answers to question 2 and 3 are no and nothing, the answer to 1 you can find all over every single gun thread.

Why is that important. Over 30,000 people are killed each year due to gun violence. Just because a tragedy like Las Vegas prompts people to discuss gun safety doesn’t mean it has to only address attempts to stop mass shootings.


I’d like to think that I’m a “moderate, sensible” gun-owner, but I don’t have a good answer for you. I don’t belong to the NRA and I don’t agree with most of their tactics. I’m open to some change.

I have no problem with a ban on bump stocks, rotary devices for triggers, and kits to convert semiautomatic weapons to full automatic operation (or some semblance thereof). I think that penalties for illegal possession of stolen weapons or possession by individuals otherwise barred from owning them should be very severe.

I have no objection to reasonable restrictions on the number of weapons an individual can purchase within a certain period of time. I don’t know what the limit should be, or how we should characterize the firearms for this purpose. I also don’t know how to identify multiple purchases, since we don’t currently have a Federal database for firearms purchases.

I’m even open to greater regulation of the sale of ammunition and propellants (for reloading). But I also realize that money always has, and always will, get around many of these regulations.

There’s a butt-load of guns in the US and that’s a fact. Some of them are grandpa’s shotgun or an old six-shot revolver, but a lot aren’t.

As previously mentioned, gun control policy has been debated to death. But as for the quoted part, the U.S. is a pro-gun society and this attitude limits what is politically feasible. Namely:

  1. A substantial percentage (albeit still a minority) of residents are gun-owners.
  2. A substantial majority (60-70% in recent decades) are opposed to a gun ban.

Combine the above with a well-funded gun lobby, and “ban all guns” becomes an unrealistic political outcome on any kind of national scale.

Previous thread from not so long ago.

Banning bump stocks may have mitigated the lives lost in Las Vegas (though banning them wouldn’t make them impossible to acquire – just more difficult).

Improved background checks, covering all gun sales and transfers (with possible exceptions for family transfers with a cap per year), probably would not have affected the LV shooting, but I’m in favor of them.

Look to Canada as an example. Banning guns in the US is a non-starter, if for no other reason than there are already so many of them out there.

But it’s much easier to control gun uses and behaviors.

In Canada, it is possible to own most of the same guns as you can get in the US - revolvers, pistols, shotguns, rifles of all types including semi auto rifles. But they are much harder to use. For regular citizens, carrying of handguns in public is essentially impossible. You can have them at home, or at a range, and can transport them (suitably restrained in a case) directly between the two, but essentially nowhere else.

Long guns are less restricted, but there’s still a culture that we don’t just go walking down the street with them. If you’re not clearly out hunting, having a long gun with you in public will almost certainly attract the attention of your neighbors and the police.

This gives the police the power to intervene with Bad Guys before they start shooting the place up - enforcing these restrictions becomes a primary enforcement target, justifying police action all by themselves.

This won’t stop all gun violence, but it could cut down on a lot of it. You can’t get into a road-rage shootout, or some other kind of spontaneous violence, if your gun is locked up at home. And if you’re so determined to kill someone that you go home to get your gun, anyone who sees you with it is entirely likely to call the police, giving them an opportunity to head you off before you can enact your plan.

Here’s a link to what Canada does:

Some examples of why this is a bad argument might be helpful:

*** In the late 1970s, an increase in both number and severity of US laws about drunk driving began. Has this led to the outlawing of alcohol? Has it led to confiscation of alcohol products? (No.)

*** US federal laws intended to regulate and limit advertising of tobacco products began with the 1965 Federal Cigarette Labeling and Advertising Act, continued with the 1970 Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act, and with a 1984 amendment. Has this led to the outlawing of tobacco? (No.)

It is not the case that regulation and laws limiting access lead to the confiscation of the products being regulated. The argument that no regulations or laws should be enacted, because they will lead to confiscation, is a bad one.

No, but it did lead to the National Minimum Drinking Age Act, so this is not a perfectly valid counterexample. And the temperance movement of the early 1900s did actually lead to the outlawing of alcohol.

It crosses my mind that a ban of all semi-automatic weapons, alongside the banning of mod devices that turn single-shot guns into automatic or semi-automatic weapons, would probably have done quite a lot to reduce the harm done in Vegas. It wouldn’t do a thing for most other gun crime, or for suicides for that matter, but it would at least slightly slow down those who are trying to just spew as many bullets into the crowd as possible. And, since “non-single-shot” is not a vague scary-word definition like “assault weapons”, we can bypass the “that’s not a real thing” argument entirely.

I don’t actually know if it’s legal to ban multi-shot weapons under the second amendment. I mean, we ban rocket launchers and such, so it probably is, but who knows.

It seems like fully automatic weapons are extremely hard to legally or illegally get. How about the same laws and regulations on semi-automatic weapons?

The standard adopted by the majority in Heller is that Congress and the states cannot ban weapons that are “in common use at the time.” Scalia himself acknowledged that this was inherently contradictory to what he’d written earlier in the opinion:

But he didn’t want to allow guns to be banned, and presumably didn’t want ordinary citizens to own bazookas, so he was pretty fucked either way. The “in common use” doctrine is circular, because automatic weapons would be in common use for home defense if they weren’t effectively illegal. Originalism!

Neither of those come anywhere near ‘the government will be going door to door and confiscating all weapons, if we allow any laws to be enacted’ territory, though.

-I would support a ban on automatic and semi-automatic rifles. Bolt, lever and single load are fine.

-semi automatic handguns are fine

-suppressors and silencers are fine.

-a semi auto shotgun is not fine.

-if you want to own a gun, any gun, it needs to be registered and insured for liability, and you must get it inspected once every five years for a nominal cost.

-to be licensed to own a gun you need to pass a gun safety test.

-if you are a felon you never get a gun.

Just curious here…why semi-automatic handguns (or handguns at all), but not semi-automatic rifles? The vast majority of gun deaths in the US are from handguns after all, while outside of these lone wolf crazy attacks rifles are almost never used. Same for shotguns. I don’t get it. :confused:

I disagree it would have mitigated anything, but I agree with the rest here.

You’ve never heard of an AR pistol, have you?

That’s a small rifle, imo. I recognize that there is a big blurry line between pistols and handguns that would need to be clarified.